Typical antimicrobials induce mast cell degranulation and anaphylactoid reactions via MRGPRX2 and its murine homologue MRGPRB2

Tao Zhang, Delu Che, Rui Liu, Shengli Han, Nan Wang, Yingzhuan Zhan, Priyanka Pundir, Jiao Cao, Yanni Lv, Liu Yang, Jue Wang, Meiwen Ding, Xinzhong Dong, Langchong He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Mast cells are unique immune cells that function as sentinels in host defence reactions, including immediate hypersensitivity responses and allergic responses. The mast cell-specific receptor named MAS-related G protein-coupled receptor X2 (MRGPRX2) triggers mast-cell degranulation, a key process in anaphylactoid reactions. It is widely observed that antimicrobials can induce pseudo-allergic reactions (i.e. IgE-independent mechanism) with symptoms ranging from skin inflammation to life-threatening systemic anaphylaxis. However, their direct involvement and the mechanisms underlying anaphylactoid reactions caused by antimicrobials have not been demonstrated. Structurally different antimicrobials were screened by Ca2+ imaging using MRGPRX2 overexpressing HEK293 cells. MRGPRX2 related anaphylactoid reactions induced by these components were investigated by body temperature drop and mast cell degranulation assays. We showed that MRGPRX2 is involved in allergic-like reactions to three types of antimicrobials in a dose-dependent manner. However, mast cells lacking the receptor show reduced degranulation. Furthermore, mice without MAS-related G protein-coupled receptor B2 (the orthologous gene of MRGPRX2) exhibited reduced substance-induced inflammation. Interestingly, β-lactam and antiviral nucleoside analogues did not induce anaphylactic reactions, which were also observed in vitro. These results should alarm many clinicians that such drugs might induce anaphylactoid reactions and provide guidance on safe dosage of these drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1949-1958
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Anaphylactoid reaction
  • Antimicrobials
  • Degranulation
  • Mast Cells
  • Mrgprx2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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